The insane and the invisible

The insane is obvious. The invisible is the Liberal Leader of the Opposition in Victoria, in fact virtually the entire Liberal Party within the state. The whole world can see what a massive disaster is unfolding. This however is the mealy-mouthed pusillanimous statement produced by the Victorian Opposition about the arrest of a woman in Ballarat for her Facebook notice of an impending protest that the entire world has been condemning:

Thursday 3 September 2020

Statement from Shadow Minister for Police & Community Safety 

Victorians across the state have been deeply concerned by footage of the arrest of a woman in Miners Rest on charges of incitement relating to a planned anti-lockdown protested in Ballarat on Saturday.

Victoria Police continue to perform an outstanding job in difficult circumstances yet the community rightly expects consistency of enforcement and everyone to be treated equally before the law.

This arrest stands in clear contrast the Andrews Labor Governments green light to 10,000 Black Lives Matter protesters in June and 250 CFMMEU members protesting at a Hawthorn East worksite in July, events which sent a clear signal to every Victorian that it is ok to protest as long as it is not against Premier Daniel Andrews.

Current COVID-19 restrictions are in place to protect the health and safety of the community. With new COVID-19 cases remaining stubbornly high and more Victorian lives and livelihoods lost every dayno one should be protesting in public or encouraging others to deliberately breach the Chief Health Officers directions.

This incident has demonstrated an unacceptable inconsistency in the enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions and Daniel Andrews must now answer why it is one set of rules for left-wing and union protesters and another set for anyone critical of his government.

This is near on the most cowardly statement I have ever seen from any opposition in my life anywhere over an issue that should be infuriating anyone with a liberal soul. This is what allows Daniel Andrews to get away with murder. Where’s the outrage? Where’s the fury? Where is the defence of our freedoms? Where’s the condemnation of the grossly disproportionate actions taken by the Andrews Labor Government?

The Liberal Party owns this disaster almost as much as Labor for its profound weakness and its clear inability, as with Daniel Andrews, to understand any of the issues which are infuriating at least half the state and millions more in the rest of Australia never mind everywhere else.

And behind it all is Malcolm

The inanity revealed in the Coalition is something to behold: Liberal deserter Julia Banks fuels chaos in Coalition ranks. What Ms Banks thinks the major issue of our day is remains unrevealed, other than that Peter Dutton should have his eligibility to sit in Parliament tested by the courts. My only wish is that she was right to say that the Coalition had been taken over by “right-wing” forces. Meanwhile, Ms Bishop is seeking to have the National Energy Guarantee restored. Does she really believe global warming is a problem?

The only other bit of news in the story is that the election will likely be in mid-May.

And behind it all is Malcolm, whose empty and shallow policy formation remains possibly the single most destructive force in Australian political history.

Will also refer you to Andrew Bolt who writes Left Trashes Liberals, Right Blamed. Sometimes a big tent is too big if it lets all kinds of lefty loons enter a party of the conservative right.

Small mercies

No doubt we should be grateful for small mercies. Malcolm is gone, although not gone all that far, and that is something. Scott Morrison is a step up, but lacks either gravitas or the charismatic glow. Perhaps we will be surprised, but I won’t be surprised if we’re not surprised. But he can win the next election and I most assuredly hope he does.

But what has been the most disturbing part of the day’s events were the 40 votes cast against the spill. It is possible the number was made up to save a bit of face for Malcolm. On the other hand, it really may reflect the attitudes within the party room. It would mean near enough half the Liberal Party is made up of Keynesian central planners who think they can spend our money better than we can, and who see themselves at the centre of the economy by dispensing billions towards their favourite projects. These same people wonder why productivity growth has come to a stop. Economic illiterates, but then most economists are as well. No idea how a decentralised economy causes growth almost without effort. They did it themselves under Peter Costello who made the economy hum by savage cuts to public spending and the easing of some of the burdens placed on businesses by governments. You can see the same result in the US right now, but no one here or there sees the cause and effect relationship between freer markets and economic prosperity.

The 40 votes against the spill also suggest that a large part of the party accept that global warming is such a major and pressing problem that it is worth wrecking our economy and our productive base to do what they can to ward off this phantom catastrophe. For myself, anyone who entertains this possibility at this late date is a credulous fool of the highest order, basically a simpleton without a shred of common sense. We sell our coal which gets burned up in a far more polluting way than if we used “clean coal” ourselves. And whether or not we stopped selling coal in an act of suicidal idiocy, the CO2 levels will do whatever they will do with our sacrifice or without. Meanwhile more and more Australians will freeze in the dark as the power bills go up.

The Libs plus the Nats remain better than Labor, and Morrison does at least have form in having stopped the boats and does apparently want to cut back on public spending. And all those folk who think letting Labor have a go while the Libs rejig themselves are the worst fantasists of all.

We must all live in hope, but as they say, hope is not a policy. We shall see.

We don’t matter

They are an arrogant and stupid lot. This is Mark Textor, the chap who does the polling for the Libs:

The loss of disgruntled conservatives will be outweighed by the appeal of a more moderate party to swinging voters. “The qualitative evidence is they don’t matter,” Mr Textor said. “The sum of a more centrist approach outweighs any alleged marginal loss of so-called base voters.”

This is actually useful knowledge since I no longer have to worry that anything we say here will make the slightest difference since they will now have half the ABC voting for the Coalition. It’s all free kicks right up to the next election.

MORE TO THINK ABOUT: I wonder if he meant us. Certainly we haven’t been told what Tim Blair was told:

A note from Mark Textor regarding yesterday’s post:

In relation to the quote from me in The Australian that “they don’t matter” and reported in your blog: that was said in relation to a far right wing website (that the author mentioned to me among others), certainly not conservative voters.

My long political and business career, and many public statements and columns, have been built on deep respect for voter opinion, including representing accurately the views and aspirations of centre right and conservative voters around the world.

I would never believe that anyone doesn’t matter in our democracy. They do.

Sinclair is in Chicago so maybe he got the email and hasn’t been able to pass it along.

A FURTHER UPDATE: He did get the email. He has therefore put up a post trying to call of the dogs, Abbott : Johns v Allen, Bolt, Kates et. al. He writes:

When you’re an economist you tend to subscribe to a view that specialisation and the division of labour is a a good thing. That people can be very good at activity x but not at y. This does not reflect upon them as human beings, it is just the way it is. I have often had discussions with people who are better at x than y, but would prefer to do y than x. This are often hard discussions. Indeed I’ve had people tells me this too. That Tony Abbott is a good human being and an awesome opposition leader does not mean that he would automatically be a good prime minister. Frankly, he wasn’t. That doesn’t deny in any way his other fine qualities.

I find myself in a difficult position here because so many people who’s opinions I generally trust are at complete loggerheads over the removal of Tony Abbott as prime minister. Abstracting from Andrew Bolt and Steve Kates whom you have all read let me draw your attention to two other people who have touched on this topic. Jim Allen at the Spectator and Gary Johns at the Australian.

Well, I will reply later, but here is the point. There was this assumption that with the Australian-ABC-Age all on the same side, everything would settle down since there is obviously nowhere else for us conservative types to go. On this they are finding they were completely wrong. They are now finding they have set things on fire and do not know how to get it back under control. And this is the anger when Turnbull has not done a thing to really rile us. Just wait until he does.

[Original post from Tim Blair following many references to this quote on a previous thread.]

The ABC wing of the Liberal Party

It used to be my view that it was the Senate that was the largest obstacle to getting things done, but now I can see that the ABC-wing of the Liberal Party played its fair share as well.

How much internal infighting did Tony Abbott have to put up with? He says today that his legacy is the key to a future Coalition win at the next election, so obviously true that only someone as narcissistic as the PM could deny it. But the scale of things, large and small, that Abbott had a fight on his hands over, on issues that ought to have been obvious and uncontroversial within his own side, is shown by the story right next to the one on Abbott: Tony’s Demise Opens Door to UN Top Job for Rudd. The idea of Kevin as Secretary General of the United Nations is such an idiocy, that only because we know that the PM and Mark Scott are ideological identical twins that we have no doubts about what the policy was and how it has now been changed. No doubt there is much more we will find out in the days to come, along with much else we will never hear a word about as Tony’s legacy is undermined bit by bit as best they can.

Mathias Corpsman

A third of the time when I listen to some Government minister on about something, I have the overwhelming impression that they are of the left but trying to fake it on how a conservative would think and react to various events. And to tell the truth, I am less plugged into the who’s who of politics in the Liberal Party than I once was. But to listen to Mathias Cormann on Bolt this morning refusing an offer to defend Dyson Heydon and his integrity against Shorten and the union movement, even when twice invited to by Andrew, made me wonder who he and people like him think of as the real enemy.

That was a no-brainer. If there is any hesitation within cabinet about the absolute necessity, never mind the fact that it is the right side of the issue, to be using the Heydon business to beat the Labor Party over the head for its ties to a corrupt union movement, then these people have reached a level of political incompetence that is hard to fathom. If they really are on a mission to return Turnbull to the leadership, then they are as out of political judgement as the man in the moon.

Bronnie once again

One more time. So far as I can understand it, the issue is this. A 72-year old woman is the Speaker of the House. She is going to a Liberal Party function in Geelong which may be the 1000th-plus such event she has gone to. She has also flown on a helicopter before. She is not doing it for fun, it is not a “jaunt”. It is work. She may like her job, and she may like the people she meets when she gets there. She may even enjoy herself. But she is doing it as part of her job. If she weren’t a Member of Parliament, and more importantly if she weren’t the Speaker of the House, her presence would not be sought, and she could go home, put her feet up and watch the tele. She could sit in a taxi for an hour or take some pressure off her schedule and her own aged self, by taking a more expensive form of travel. She undoubtedly did not even plan the mode of travel but someone else did it for her. Maybe she shouldn’t have travelled that way, but in no way do I see this as a form of arrogance. It is only political misjudgement, since everyone seems to find it so offensive.

OK, the Labor Party, the party of waste, sees some political advantage in raising this as an issue. But why are people who would like to see the Coalition returned at the next election making such an issue of it? First it was Andrew Bolt, and then even Tim Blair and now Janet Albrechtsen. She repeats the Labor Party meme down to the finest detail:

Bishop’s pain would have involved a one-hour drive along the impressive highway from Melbourne airport to Geelong. By choosing a helicopter last November, she and the Abbott government are now feeling much worse pain: that of voter disdain and contempt.

The brouhaha is made much worse by Bishop’s imperiousness. The Speaker of the House who imposes the rules inside the house has paid little regard for the rules outside the house. So much of this stuff doesn’t just fail the sniff test. It stinks to high heaven.

If this is the biggest issue of the moment, then we really are a country blessed with good fortune. It may have been bad judgment to take the helicopter to Geelong, and certainly in retrospect that seems absolutely evident. But for a woman of her age trying to fulfil her duties, I find almost nothing there that offends me. And if anyone ought to pay for the trip, it is the Liberal Party in Geelong that invited her.

I would never vote for a Coalition led by Malcolm Turnbull

Andrew Bolt says that Malcolm Turnbull is about to have his final go at taking over the leadership of the Liberal Party by Tuesday, so that it is now or never to make our views known (see here and here).

When I used to work in Canberra, our offices backed onto the Liberal Party headquarters, and I was asked one time, even before Malcolm entered Parliament, what I thought about him. My answer was that if I was in the constituency that would decide the fate of the next election, and my vote was the one that would put him in or out, that I would hesitate about which way to go. That was then. Today I would have no doubt. The reasons.

Peter Wright For me, national security is the ultimate issue in any election. There are always international issues that matter, and they weigh heavy with me. All but forgotten today, The Spycatcher Trial was one of those moments I do not forget. Wright was an MI5 agent who set out to write a tell-all/reveal-all of the English intelligence service. Margaret Thatcher sought to prevent the publication of his book, and the final determination was in a court in Tasmania, in which Malcolm Turnbull sought to defend Wright and ultimately was successful in allowing the book to be published worldwide because it could be published in Australia. I was told then that everyone deserves the best defence and etc etc, but if Malcolm has ever said that he defended Wright even though he was treasonous scum, I haven’t heard it. I would never trust Turnbull on any national security issue, and there is nothing more important at the present time.

He’s a Warmist Anyone soft-headed enough to take in the Global Warming scam without at least some doubts is not a possessor of the shrewd, sensible, incisive mind I am looking for in a leader. He lost the leadership on this one issue at the time because there are people like me who would never line up behind anyone who believes this stuff needs trillion dollar government solutions to what is looking every day less of a problem.

He’s a Keynesian I once had a conversation with Malcolm over economic issues and mentioned something that I think of instinctively as an issue, the kind of thing Peter Costello put at the centre of his own management of the economy. His response was to walk off. Having watched and listened to him over the years, he has no sense of how an economy works. Given that when he led the Libs he was all set to follow Labor’s lead on the stimulus, and declared that the Coalition would have done much the same, in many ways he owns the problems we have right now.

Useless as a Minister He may be popular with the ABC and others like it, but this is only because he has never done anything of any use that would upset them. If he doesn’t upset the ABC, what could he possibly stand for? What issue has he carried forward as part of the government that has done an ounce of good? If the NBN is his crowning achievement, he has done nothing other than implement Kevin Rudd’s back-of-the-envelope idiocy that will cost us billions and return millions.

He Cannot be Trusted To draw a distinction between himself and the Prime Minister over the Human Rights Commission Report on children in detention not only shows the worst imaginable political judgement, but has him line up with the Government’s enemies. I am a million miles from Canberra right now, but since all and sundry report Turnbull’s treachery, who am I to doubt it. This is a government that needs to survive and win that next election. Abbott is learning how to be a PM on the job, and is actually getting the hang of it. Shame about the wasted first year, but that is now the past.

There is clearly a succession plan in place at the top of the Liberal Party. What may have begun as the second eleven is now starting to function as a very good government. And the PM does not like to lose, and I don’t think he will.

Tony Abbott for PM

Being from the Tony Abbott wing of the Liberal Party’s deep background cover, a sobered up TA is better by far than any of the alternatives. Prince Phillip is more of a sad joke than a policy issue. Unlike pink batts, the NBN, carbon taxes, mining taxes or the rest, it didn’t cost us a thing. Nevertheless, symbolism is important, and it was a major error. Yet for all that, amongst the possibilities of the moment, I would rather try to win the next election with Abbott as the PM than anyone else.

As an absolute certainty, if the Libs are led by someone who finds global warming anything other than the biggest con in the history of science, a very large part of the Coalition’s natural constituency will, at best, become indifferent to the result of the next election. Abbott was allowed to take over principally because he seemed to have a reasonably clear picture both of the significance of atmospheric carbon to the future of the planet, along with an understanding that his party is probably riddled with people who really do believe something needs to be done.

I can also see that Abbott was distracted by the clamour over 18C which must be, within the scheme of things, pretty small beer as any issue of the moment could be. The Two Dannys ended up with their conviction overturned. There is no issue of significance that cannot be debated at the moment, and there is not a chance in a thousand anyone will be taken to the HRC based on their views of radical Islam. It is symbolism again, perhaps, but there are an awful lot of ethnic minorities who would like to see the law come down on the side of tolerance and against racial abuse.

Where the Government needed to go right from the start was to fix up the two greatest economic messes we have, the level of public spending and the rigidities built into the Fair Work Act. How Martin Parkinson survived past the first month of the government remains beyond me. Whoever it was who allowed such a dyed-in-the-wool Keynesian to continue to oversee Treasury – and a warmist to boot – made the largest imaginable error. The response, presented via our current Treasurer, was the standard Keynesian junk. It was static and based on finding revenue, rather than dynamic and predicated on generating private sector growth.

And then there was the missing IR inquiry that needed to have been introduced from the first day. The PC report should already have been delivered, not just starting out.

But because of a lull in the polls, which happens to every government in the middle of its term, the Libs are apparently about to switch from someone who at present looks in the vicinity of 50-50 to win the next election to someone who is certain to lose. I don’t see the logic, but short-term thinking seems to be the nature of politics in a democracy.

What this sets up is the possibility that Bill Shorten and Labor will aim to be elected with the promise to fix the economy, balance the budget, restore industrial relations stability and create jobs. Sounds like a great idea to me. I only wish someone had actually tried it before now.